Recently Tim Albright, a contributor to AV Technology, and President of AVNation, hosted Barco’s Lieven Bertier, Segment Marketing Director, Workplace, during a webinar titled “Bring Your Own Meeting.” The following are paraphrased excerpts of Bertier’s comments from the webinar. Check out the full 60-minute recording here.
Until there is a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19, most workplaces will have a contingent of employees that will split time between the office and working from home, others that will go to the office full time, and others that will work from home permanently. For the foreseeable future, the workplace will be a hybrid office.
Given that many workers became familiar with navigating between video conferencing platforms on their laptop while working from home, they’re not ready or willing to abandon that ease of use as they return to the office. It has become clear that CIO’s are struggling with the demand from employees that when they are in the office, they want to be able to collaborate using various video conferencing platforms like they did at home, and that their laptop has become their preferred device because of its ready access to their files and links.
For CIO’s, the key questions become, “How am I going to provide this to my people? How can I make sure they can easily present and connect to a video conference?” The solution for this is Bring Your Own Meeting (BYOM). BYOM is simple: Walk into the room, plug in a Barco ClickShare button, and automatically connect to all room USB peripherals, and use it in Zoom, BlueJeans, Microsoft Teams or several other UC platforms.
Below are seven reasons why BYOM is the perfect solution.
Reason One: My Meeting, My Preferred Tools. This is a very straightforward one. The challenge is that employees want to run their meetings from their laptop. People trust and are familiar with their laptops and that is what they expect to have in the office as well. Today this is called BYOM. “I do everything from my laptop; I’m going to host a meeting from my laptop; I’m going to use my preferred tools, and nobody is going to interfere with this.”
Reason Two: Stay flexible and agile. This is very important. In talking with people, we’ve heard that they are struggling with a myriad of issues such as, “How are we going to deal with our meeting rooms? Should we break up the bigger ones into smaller meeting rooms, or is it the other way around? Should we merge several small meeting rooms into a bigger one so we can better deal with social distancing?” Other questions we’ve heard are, “What’s the future of the huddle? Is there still something like a huddle after the COVID crisis? What about landscape offices—should we start introducing Plexiglas in there?”
There are a lot of questions being asked about the setup. With meeting spaces being created where they did not exist before, not only does this create physical space challenges but now it even more important that the collaboration systems can be easily accessed. By staying agile will mean you have the flexibility to move to another solution if you want to. That is pretty important. If you are locked into one platform, then it is very hard to be flexible and remain agile.
Reason Three: Safeguarding your investment. According to an AVIXA report, equipment can remain in a meeting room for nine years. That’s a long time. If you installed a system and equipment in a meeting room last year and want to change the setup today to move things around for social distancing, you might not have the flexibility to change the space. Not everything ages at the same time. If you cannot reuse the equipment, then you’ve lost the investment.
Make sure that you can reuse cameras or screens, even though the setup may change completely. BYOM is hardware and software agnostic so you’ll never be sitting on equipment that can no longer be used because it’s not interoperable with a proprietary collaboration system.
Reason Four: Multiple platforms. Choose the platform or platforms employees want to use, and don’t stick to one platform. According to research conducted in 2019 by Future of Meetings, is that people use, on average, six different conferencing (UC) tools. As much as companies may want standardization, in reality, employees are using a lot of different platforms. Again, the promise that BYOM holds is that users can choose the platform they want.
Reason Five: Cable-free, and hassle-free. It is very important to ensure that employees don’t struggle using peripherals in the room. Any number of issues can arise, from not having the correct adaptors, not enough cables in the room needing to install drivers, equipment settings, unfamiliarity with in-room controls, or secure network access to name a few.
Making sure that users can simply connect wirelessly conferencing is key. This is what Bring Your Own Meeting is about. Instead of connecting the in-room camera directly to a laptop, users connect to it, the display, the mics, the speakers via the ClickShare Conference button. There’s no need to mess with cables, or change the settings on the laptop for different peripherals even when moving from room to room.
Reason Six: Get the meeting started right away. In research Barco conducted, we found out that the first six to seven minutes of any meeting are often lost with technology struggles, wasting time and money. Everybody struggles with technology in those first minutes which dramatically raises stress levels for presenters. It also hurts their image and the company’s brand.
Imagine a situation where users walk into the room and connect to ClickShare Conference in the room, and in less than seven seconds they are up and running. It’s not seven minutes lost; it’s just seven seconds. That’s all it takes to get going, and that is a lot of valuable time being saved.
Reason Seven: Shared room dynamics. This is the most important reason of all to go for wireless conferencing. Users walk into the meeting room with a laptop, and as long as there is only one person talking—everything is easy. However, if there are several people in the room using the same laptop for the video conference, neither the camera or the microphone are made for more than one person resulting in a particularly bad experience for in-room and remote participants.
Bring Your Own Meeting or wireless conferencing can bring the solution to the user. With ClickShare Conference, all meeting room peripherals are connected to the base unit. A user just clicks the button, and all connections to the in-room peripherals and settings are made instantly and the user is seamlessly switched to the room view. This changes the whole dynamic of the meeting, especially for the remote participant. It brings the near and far sides into a shared virtual space and enables everyone to engage as if they were all in the same room.
It Adds Up to Everyone Being Happy
When you start enabling Bring Your Own Meeting in your company, it’s going to make everybody happy—from the user of the technology all the way to the C-level, who are responsible for signing off on investment budgets.
For me as an individual, it is my way of working. It’s what I’m used to. It’s so easy and intuitive. There’s no learning involved, and that’s what I like. I don’t have time to get acquainted with new technologies or new products. I need it to work out of the box right away.
BYOM provides teams with efficiency, effectiveness and better collaboration. That’s ultimately what a digital workplace strategy is all about.
Organizations will see that people are more satisfied and engaged, they will work better together, and there’s going to be a demonstrable return on your investment.
Recapping, Bring Your Own Meeting can be done in three simple, easy steps: you walk into the room, you plug in a ClickShare button, and you join the call from your laptop. That’s all it takes. Let me repeat that one: I walk into the room, I plug in a ClickShare button, and I automatically receive the audio and video stream of the room, and I use it in my Zoom, BlueJeans, or Microsoft Teams conference.
This COVID-19 pandemic will only accelerate the need for better collaboration, and it will also increase the need for doing things from personal devices. In other words, my laptop is my window to the world, and I want to bring my own meeting.
The New Hybrid Office, the second article of six in the series, BYOM: The New Normal in Today’s Workplace. Check out Back to the Office, the first article in the series.